How to Effectively (and Healthily!) Use Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that boosts mental and physical performance. When taken in moderate amounts, caffeine improves mental alertness, endurance and enhances performance. This stimulant is found naturally in coffee, tea, and certain herbs.

The ill effects of caffeine are well documented. Taken in excess, caffeine can disrupt sleep, cause high blood pressure, increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stomach issues. That said, caffeine is non-toxic so as long as you take the right amount, you can use this stimulant healthily and effectively. In today’s post, let’s take a look at how you can use caffeine effectively without sacrificing a good night’s sleep:

Image used under Creative Commons from Nathan Yergler

Take Small Doses

Once consumed, caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream quickly and it takes a while before trace amounts of the stimulant are removed completely from the system. So instead of drinking cup after cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage, consume the drink in small amounts. For instance, instead of drinking 4 to 6 cups of coffee every day, cut back the usual serving into smaller cups and take one serving per hour. By taking small doses of caffeine, you can stay alert all day without losing sleep at night.

Maximizing Caffeine Buzz

Contrary to popular notion, caffeine doesn’t make you better at something, it makes you work faster in completing tasks. If your job involves tedious tasks that do not require much cognitive effort, we suggest consuming caffeinated beverage an hour or two before starting your day at work. Caffeine buzz boosts performance, allowing you to complete your tasks on time.

Know Your Limit

When it comes to natural stimulants like caffeine, moderation is key. Do not exceed the right amount of caffeine because 1) caffeine is addictive and 2) too caffeine is hard on the heart, stomach, and bladder.

Some people are able to tolerate caffeine better than others. Your tolerance to caffeine will depend on many things, including your genes, diet, and your lifestyle. Learn your caffeine limit and never go beyond it. If you cannot get a good night’s sleep after taking five cups of coffee, wind it down to three. If three cups of coffee aren’t enough to energize you throughout the day, take four and so on. The key is to consume coffee at different times throughout the day and at different intervals so you don’t end up with sleepless nights.

Image used under Creative Commons from Henri Bergius

Pre-Workout Drink

Instead of taking sugary sports or energy drinks, take tea or plain, black coffee (no sugar!) to give the body a much-needed boost before working out. Studies show that people who drank coffee before working out are able to complete their fitness regimen more effectively than people who did not drink coffee at all!

Healthy Sources

Finally, finding the best sources of caffeine will do your body a lot of good. The best source of caffeine is green tea. Green tea is naturally rich in antioxidants that protect healthy cells from oxidation, which causes chronic diseases. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as sports drinks or energy drinks because these beverages are laden with sugars and artificial flavorings. Candies and chocolates may also contain traces of caffeine but they too are laden with sugar, artificial flavors and artificial colors that are harmful to the health. If you cannot say no to chocolates, choose dark chocolates.